Did you ever feel defeated by liver disease? Sarah Larsen decided to fight back. We are giving her a special blog space where she will document her training journey from patient to athlete training to compete in the World Senior Games.
For anyone who missed her introductory blog, here it is
Have you ever had one of those years where you thought you were doing everything right? Your job was going well, your home life was good, you thought your eating habits were good…Everything was good… Right?
Then one evening, after many nights of inability to sleep you begin to add up all the random, but “could they be connected symptoms?” you’ve been having. You suddenly begin a mental list of the unexplained weight gain, fatigue, brain fog, restless sleep and so on. Yep, that was me, back in October of 2018. I finally connected all of the dots and it hit me, it hit me like someone just slammed the front door. I have the symptoms of early NASH.
For most people NASH isn’t even on their radar. They have never even heard of the acronym or that there is a condition that affects the Liver that isn’t correlated without alcohol. You see this disease was very familiar to me. So familiar that when I finally connected all of my symptoms I was alarmed that I, at the age of 45 was having them. My father, the week of Thanksgiving in 2013, passed away. This was a result from a three failed surgeries to correct some of the damage that NASH had done to his Liver. My dad was my world. He was the ultimate Papa and if you looked in the dictionary it would read: Grandpa: (Papa) also known as Papa Paul, watcher of Robin Hood with his grandkids, loves to take his grandkids camping, fishing, off-roading, best bear hugger, shoulder to cry on, military tough enough to teach you good lesson, then give you licorice to soften the blow. Now I, his second daughter was is in his shoes, with his disease. This terrified me. I am the mother of 6 wonderful human beings and at the time 2 grandsons. The thought of not being around for them and this scared me. I wanted to be as good of a Grandma as he was a Papa.
I first had to get a confirmed diagnosis so I visited my primary doctor. I told him of the symptoms I was experiencing, explained my family history and asked for some lab work to be done. You would think this would be an easy task. This all seems pretty straight forward, right? Nope! He told me I was just over-weight and probably over reacting. Did he not hear me, my dad died from NASH and now I am sitting in his office, I weighed more than I ever have in my life, more than any pregnancy (which was all high risk, for which I had been on bed rest for). I weighed in at this appointment at 263 pounds; I am 5 feet 6.5 inches. He asked if I’d like a prescription for weight loss medication. WHAT??? I began to get a little upset and said, “NO, I want you to run some labs for my liver!” Our conversation went back and forth for about 20 minutes about my weight, what was going on in my life and so on, was I depressed, was I getting enough exercise? I worked managing a Nursing home and was on my feet all day and told him, “At the end of the day, I don’t have any energy after work to exercise.” He finally gave in and gave me an order for the lab work. I came back the following morning so that I could be in a fasting state and felt as though I should have just donated a pint of blood. It wasn’t long and I had a phone call from my doctor and he said, “We need to talk”.
The symptoms leading up to your diagnosis of FLD (Fatty Liver Disease) or NASH (Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis) are you “Introduction” to the disease. Getting your diagnosis is just the First Chapter in your healing journey. There is a roller coaster of emotions that go along with the diagnosis. This is my journey of healing, finding my strength, determination to beat the disease that stole my father and grandfather to my children. Each week I will turn a chapter in my journey and show you how I healed my body, found strength to push the pain and how I’m living each day to bring awareness to these diseases so others can heal and live on for their families. Follow me as I work towards my current goal of racing at the Huntsman Senior Games this October in St.George, Utah. I have come from not being able to walk up a couple flights of stairs to training for bike race. I have lost over 120 pounds and have no intentions of finding it. I am stronger, feel younger and am healthier than ever. I will share incites of my journey, tips for exercise, healthy & tasty recipes and more. Please join me weekly as we add a new chapter in this journey.
Here is a link to her blog. We hope you will follow and support her in her journey.